By: Lisa Apmann

In just a couple weeks, nearly 1,000 of our Canadian members will gather in Calgary for a few days of pensions and benefits education at the 47th Annual Canadian Employee Benefits Conference.

It’s the home stretch for International Foundation staff, wrapping up every detail to make sure your conference experience is more than you hoped for. As we gear up for the coming conference, I’ve thought of a few “insider” tips to share with you before you head to Calgary. 

The Educational Sessions

The event—themed New Horizons in Pensions and Benefits Education—kicks off on Sunday evening with an opening keynote presentation featuring Colonel Chris Hadfield, retired astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station.  Since blasting off from Kazakhstan in December 2012, he has become a worldwide sensation, harnessing the power of social media to make outer space accessible to Tip: Meet Colonel Hadfield—He will stay after his session for a book signing. millions and infusing a sense of wonder into the collective consciousness not felt since man first walked on the moon. Called “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong,” Colonel Hadfield, now safely back on Earth, continues to bring the glory of science and space travel to everyone he encounters. We are honoured and excited to welcome Colonel Hadfield to the 47th Annual Employee Benefits Conference!   

The remainder of the conference schedule features presentations from futurist Richard Worzel, economist Linda Nazareth, brain trainer Brian Thwaits along with Tip: Plan your schedule in advance with the conference app or session selection online.economist Jim Stanford, health policy analyst Michael Rachlis and many more industry profes​sionals who will help you discover and learn new approaches and solutions to the challenges facing your funds.​

You’ll have the opportun​​ity to choose from nearly 100 sessions and workshops covering topics related to governance, health and welf​are, pensions, legal and legislative updates, investments, administration, communication, training and apprenticeship trust funds and public plans. We offer a great schedule full of dynamic speakers, determined to inspire and challenge you—both professionally and personally.

Beyond the Educational Sessions

Resource Centre: Stop and visit with Foundation staff in the conference Resource Centre.  Bring your questions, seek some guidance or just talk about your membership resources and education options.​Tip: Get your free photo in the Resource Center Monday and Tuesday

Staff will be happy to provide help with:​

  • Downloading and using the conference app​
  • Updating your online member profile 
  • Accessing and downloading your educational transcript
  • “Next-step” advice for your pensions and benefits education
  • Information specialists from the Foundation’s Information Centre will also be on hand to take your research questions and show you how to navigate the ​​​EMPLOYEE BENEFITS INFOSOURCE™ database to get answers to your pensions and benefits questions.​​​​

The Resource Centre is also a great place to get social. View attendee-submitted photos and check the conference buzz on the Twitter feed. Stop by for a break, connect and have fun.

​Conference Bookstore: After you’ve made your way through the Resource Centre, stop by the Conference Bookstore​ and peruse the latest reference materials that will help keep you informed, in compliance and one step ahead of the game. You may also purchase books written by our Keynote speakers including, An Astronaut’s Tip: If you plan to have a book signed by a speaker, buy your copy in the bookstore prior to the session to save time.Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield, Who Owns Tomorrow? 7 Secrets For the Future of Business by Richard Worzel, Economorphics: The Trends Turning Today Into Tomorrow by Linda Nazareth and The Big Learn: Smart Ways to Use Your Brain by Brian Thwaits. All four speakers will be available after their presentation to take photos with attendees and sign books!

​Health Fair: Don’t miss the chance to see how you stack up against the averages on key indicators of health! Grab your friends and family and join us at the Annual Conference Health Fair—​ Being aware of your overall health allows you to plan for the future you both want and deserve. The Health Fair is your chance to check your bodyTip: You don't have to go through all the Health Fair stations at one time. Visit each as your schedule permits. composition, grip strength, balance, brain games, cholesterol and blood glucose and blood pressure. (No worries—Your scores are strictly confidential.) All attendees can complete the tests and fill out a ticket to be entered to win an Apple iPad mini! The Health Fair will be open Sunday through Wednesday of the conference, so make sure you stop by—Everyone can be a winner in health!

​ With so much to do at the Annual Conference this year, I urge you to take the time and make the most of your educational experience by having a plan in mind. Don’t forget to get out and see the beautiful city of Calgary.

I’ll see you there!​



Project Coordinator, Educational Programs at the International Foundation 

Favorite Foundation service/product: Conference mobile apps

Benefits related topics she loves to dig into: Any “wellness” topics (mental, physical, spiritual). retirement “in”security – what’s going to happen to younger generations when they hit ‘retirement age’

Favorite Foundation conference/event moment: 2011 New Orleans Annual Conference – meeting Lou Holtz on stage at the opening session. Also, having the opportunity to work with all of our volunteer speakers on site at the US and Canadian Annual Conferences.

Personal insight: An admitted “cat lady,” Lisa has two of her own that are very pampered and spoiled.  No worries—she enjoys people, too, taking any chance she can to enjoy friends and family or joking around with co-workers.

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